Rivlin to GOP congressmen: Israel will defend itself against Iran

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told a delegation of Republican members of the U.S. Congress that Israel “can and will do all that is necessary to defend itself” in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.

“Along with Israelis on all sides of the political spectrum, I am deeply concerned about the recent nuclear deal signed with Iran,” Rivlin told the delegation, led by House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), at a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning.

“We stand together in a partnership, established on the strong foundations of common values, and a shared vision, deeply rooted in democracy, the values of liberalism, and human rights for each and every citizen,” Rivlin said in welcoming the delegation from the American Israel Education Foundation, an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Rivlin called Israel’s allies, including the United States, “a strategic cornerstone for us.” He added: “The U.S.–Israel relationship has known ups and downs. We must not be alarmed by disagreements when they arise. Whatever Congress decides, it will be your decision as representatives of the American people. We, as your allies and partners, must make sure that whatever the result of this vote, our strategic alliance stands and grows even stronger.”

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Later on Tuesday, another congressional delegation, organized by the Israel Allies Foundation and led by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), visited the Temple Mount, where they were harassed by a group of Muslim men. The tour of the site holy to both Jews and Muslims was interrupted first by worshippers and then by guards from the Muslim Wakf, the Jerusalem Post reported.

During its visit, the group also toured Israel’s southern border with Egypt, the Golan Heights near the border with Syria and West Bank settlements.

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